My favourite dive-site around Pulau Pef is Karang Sembilan, and it’s so much more than just our house reef. Sembilan means “nine” in Indonesian, and the reef has the shape of the number 9.
It offers an incredible variety of types of marine life that I have rarely seen at other dive-spots.
During a typical dive, we jump from the jetty and go down to 8m. We have a good chance of seeing different types of pygmy seahorse, ghost pipefish, sexy shrimps, various types of octopus – including the blue-ringed and beautifully patterned wonderpus – and electric clams.
Following the ridge, there are many big coral blocks swirling with glassfish, sweetlips and, here and there, wobbegong sharks.
We then head down to 23m, to find big shoals of yellowtail fusiliers, many blacktip sharks and occasional whitetip sharks or eagle rays.
With the reef still on our right shoulder, we slowly go up to 15 or 10m to get to the coral slope, where we usually find candy crabs, turtles, razorfish, anemones and their clownfish, bumphead parrotfish – shall I go on?
On the way back to the jetty, scattered on the reef, there are around 30 beautiful and healthy giant clams. We collected and planted them there to regrow a population that had been threatened by extinction.
Back at the jetty, we linger around our Raja4Divers’ statues, covered with colourful sponges and corals.
Night-dives are especially spectacular, as we often see the endemic Raja Ampat walking shark (above left) and sometimes Walton flasher wrasse, along with lobsters and many other nocturnal creatures.
And snorkellers have come back with huge smiles on their faces after seeing a dugong swim by over the seagrass-covered area on a late afternoon!